My husband just turned 62 years old on January 28 and on Monday; he will begin four weeks without pay. That means the company he works for, will allow him to continue to come to the office and search for a new job. He will have no work to do. We will still have medical benefits for four weeks.
He’s already been putting out his resume’ and has had a couple of interviews. Bill is an Oracle DBA with a TS/SCI security clearance, so his skills are in demand. We both feel confident he will get a new position, but when?
As I write this, I am going to try to describe what this means to us without being whiny. I don’t need sympathy, but I do want friends, neighbors, family and politicians to understand exactly what Sequestration means to our family and then perhaps garner a better understanding of what it means in a ripple effect.
We are in better circumstances than most Americans. We owe no debt. We have no house payment, no car payment, and no credit card bills. We have enough savings on hand to live for a while without dipping into our modest retirement fund. Our vehicles are fairly new, so shouldn’t need a lot of costly repairs. We won’t need to worry about buying food like some people will.
The beast that will eat our money like wildfire is medical expenses. After these 4 weeks of grace, we are eligible for Cobra, so we won’t be completely on our own, but that coverage is not cheap. Bill and I both take medications for high blood pressure and high cholesterol and I have a thyroid deficiency and glaucoma. Last year, we paid $994.00 for prescriptions after insurance. I can’t begin to estimate what that would cost without insurance.
I’m sure we have some medical benefits as Bill is a retiree from the United States Air Force. Once we began civilian life 24 years ago, we never used our military benefits. We thought since we could afford to pay our own way with the help of civilian employers’ insurance plans, we’d leave those benefits for people who needed them. (Here’s where it’s going to get whiny!)
Our whole lives are an example being responsible. We borrowed money to buy cars, but we always paid them off ahead of schedule. We borrowed money to buy a home, but we paid it off ahead of schedule. We employed people when we could, for car repairs or maintenance we could not do ourselves, but always looked for people who needed the work; families down on their luck or someone recently lost their job. We’ve donated money to others less fortunate and perhaps most of all, we donate out time to help our community.
When I worked I was always there on time and I never called in sick. (Frankly, I never get sick unless you count cancer a couple of times.) Bill, in the 37 years we’ve spent together, only missed work when stricken twice with kidney stones. This is not exaggeration, it’s the truth. (Two of our three children had perfect attendance records all through school, too!) We worked opposing shifts when our children were young so we would not have to pay for child care. Vacations usually meant a trip to Indiana to spend time with our family.
I’m taking this whole Sequestration thing personally. Bill and I are just the beginning of a tide. Our stable, responsible lives are disrupted and our modest lifestyle is in jeopardy because a government contract has been cut.
I absolutely believe the government needs to be more responsible with debt. I understand the need to cut spending and services. I think government at the local, state and federal level needs to learn to live within their means. Yet, I can’t help whining; “Why us?” More than that, I wonder, what is going to happen to all the people who do have mortgage payments, car payments, and credit card bills?